|Rán & her net by Anker Eli Petersen (2004 stamp, Faroe Islands)|
The gods stuff the otter’s skin and cover it with gold, but Hreidmar sees that one whisker sticks out of the pile and demands that it be covered. Odin places the ring on the whisker, and Loki passes on the curse to Hreidmar and his sons.
Fafnir, son of Hreidmar and brother to Ótr and Regin, kills his father and takes the gold out into the wilds. He is so foul-tempered and greedy that he turns into “the most evil serpent and lies now upon this hoard.” Regin leaves home to become the smith of King Hjalprek.
|Sigurd tests sword (12th century, Norway)|
Regin refashions the weapon, which seems “as if flames were leaping from its edges.” The sword is powerful enough to hew the anvil to its base, and sharp enough to cut a piece of wool in two when Sigurd lets it gently run against the blade in the river’s current.
Regin now demands that Sigurd face the dragon Fafnir, but the youth insists he must first avenge his father. He is given a force by Hjalprek and Alf, and sets off in ships to face the sons of Hunding. When they pass a rocky headland, Odin appears and asks to be taken aboard. The powerful storm that had troubled them immediately subsides, and they sail peacefully until they reach the land of their enemies, at which point Odin disappears. Sigmund and his forces attack the sons of Hunding, including Lyngvi, the one who led the attack on Sigmund. Sigurd personally kills every remaining son of Hunding and heads back to Regin, saying he is now ready to face the dragon.
|Sigurd kills Fafnir (12th century, Norway)|
The plan works, and the mortally-wounded dragon tells Sigurd that the treasure will be the cause of his own death, but also reveals that the hoard contains an Ægishjálmr (“helm of terror”), a magical helmet that gives him dominion over others.
|Sigurd roasts heart (12th century, Norway)|